This award is named after Dr W. (Doc) Leonard (1909-1975), an internationally recognized aquatic entomologist, conservationist, and ecologist. Dr. Leonard was born in Iowa and received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1937. His first employment in Michigan was with the DNR’s Institute for Fisheries Research headquarters staff in Ann Arbor in 1934. In 1939, he was named Director of the Department’s Hunt Creek Fisheries Experiment Station, serving in that post until entering the army in 1943 as a malarial control officer. He returned to Ann Arbor in 1946 as a fisheries biologist and assistant director of the Institute for Fisheries Research. In 1951 he moved to Lansing as DNR Assistant Deputy Director in charge of the Research and Development Section for the department. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1964, served as chairman of the School of Natural Resources, Fisheries and Wildlife, Resource Planning, and Conservation Department and was for a period acting dean of the School. He retired in 1970.
He was the author of 70 bulletins and articles, and co-author of the books Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams, with his wife Fan), Conserving Natural Resources (with S. W. Allen) and The Rampart Dam and Economic Development of Alaska (with Dr. Stephen Spurr).